Apr 21, 2014

    Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in China


    LEWIS Hamilton completed a hat-trick of wins by leading a dominant Mercedes one-two in the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix yesterday.

    German teammate Nico Rosberg took the chequered flag 18 seconds behind the Briton to finish runner-up for the third race in a row, but he retained the overall lead in the championship, four points ahead of Hamilton.

    "I just can't believe how amazing the car is," said Hamilton, who led from pole and punched the air with both fists after parking his car and leaping out.

    "I was just really racing myself. This team is on a roll, that's for sure."

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, last year's winner in Shanghai, finished third - his first podium of the year - in his team's first race under new principal Marco Mattiacci, and ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

    The victory was the 25th of Hamilton's career, pulling him level with Niki Lauda and the late Jim Clark in the all-time list of winners, and the first time the 2008 champion had won three races in a row.

    Rosberg, the winner of the season-opener in Australia, now has 79 points after four races, with Hamilton on 75 and Alonso third on 41.

    Red Bull's four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, was fifth.

    Rosberg and Vettel became engaged in a wheel-to-wheel battle for third place on Lap 23 from which the Mercedes driver emerged in front.

    Their fight enabled Ricciardo to close in on his teammate and Vettel was asked to move over, as he had in Bahrain, to let the quicker Ricciardo through.

    But, this time, Vettel was having none of it.

    "Tough luck," he said of Ricciardo's position over team radio, and he defended his fourth place, only to be passed a couple of laps later.

    However, reported that Vettel later clarified that he had initially misunderstood Ricciardo's pit strategy, which was what led to the refusal.

    Last year, the German was involved in a famous "team orders" bust-up with then teammate Mark Webber, when he brazenly disobeyed team orders to snatch victory from the Australian at the Malaysian GP.